LETTER FROM MADRID
We have long forgiven Salvador Dali for everything, in the name of his genius or his alleged sweet madness. From the sympathy of the famous Catalan painter towards the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, for whom he loudly affirmed his admiration, to his displayed fascination for Adolf Hitler, to whom he dedicated three canvases, and on which experts are still divided as to whether it reflected a real attraction to Nazi ideology or was more out of his curious sexual fantasies and obsession with authoritarian father figures. However, the letter he sent to the leader of the surrealist movement, André Breton, in 1935, available online on the André Breton archives site since 2004, for the first time reproduced by the daily El País from 1er September, this time has a hard time passing. Even if the author of the web of Great Masturbatordied in 1989, has always rhymed with provocative.
In this letter, sent in the midst of the rise of Nazism, Dali, using his method of “critical paranoia”, undertakes nothing less than to create a religion, based on sadomasochism and racism. “This religion will be physical in the moral, psychological in the ceremonial, biological in the myths and the social, fanatical in the materialist Marxist rational, dialectical in the irrational, delirious and Hitlerian in the affectivity, scientific in the dogmas”. he sums up himself in this letter, digitized in 2003, before the sale and dispersal of André Breton’s archives, but which was only recently indexed clearly on the site. Should we take this nauseating letter seriously? This is where the controversy lies.
“I believe more and more that we Surrealists are ultimately going to become priests. This idea has been bothering me for a long time, so much so that I place among my urgent projects that of inventing a religion., begins Dali in phonetic French. For the art historian Ricard Mas, interviewed on Catalunya Radio on the occasion of the controversy generated by the letter, this new religion is a “simulacrum”of the individual ” sense of humor ” of Dalí, and contains a ” critical ” to the pope of surrealism, André Breton, ” which controls the surrealist movement as if it were a sect”. And to recall that Dali had been threatened, a year earlier, with being expelled from the group for remarks favorable to Hitler, having then only owed his reprieve to his antics: he had arrived at the meeting supposed to rule on his comes out on his knees, hands clasped, with a thermometer in his mouth.
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